We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
  • Sephora15% off for Rouges w/code ROUGESPRING, 15% off for VIBs w/code VIBSPRING (starts 4/19), 10% off for BI w/code BISPRING (4/20-4/23), starts 4/18 and ends 4/24.

NARS Damage Lipstick

NARS Damage Lipstick
NARS Damage Lipstick

NARS Damage Lipstick

NARS Damage Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer muted grape.” It’s a translucent raspberry pink with a subtle shine; it looks a bit like tinted lip balm than a lipstick, because it’s so weightless and merely tinted lips. The effect is very my-lips-but-better in the best way. There’s definitely a difference between my natural lip color and how they look with Damage on top, but it’s subtle and very natural. This would be an excellent every day shade as it is extremely wearable but it will also go well with many looks. MAC Laugh-a-lot is a bit less berry. MAC Capricious is a bit darker.

Damage is part of NARS’ Sheer Lipstick line-up, which is supposed to be sheer in color but long-lasting with shine and hydration. This shade wears three to four hours on me; it’s not the longest wearing lipstick on me, but it does outlast a lot of sheerer shades, as they often last two to three hours (and some even less). This lipstick was scent- and taste-free. I didn’t find it drying, and some NARS’ lipsticks can be, though this wasn’t particularly hydrating–kind of neutral.

NARS Sheer Lipstick Damage
Damage

See more photos & swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.) is part of the Precious Stones collection, just in time for the holidays. Everything is inspired by the “sumptuous shades and textures” of precious stones and gem colors. It’s not exactly the interpretation I would expect when one is looking at jewels and gems–I always think turquoise, sapphire, ruby, but there are certainly lighter, less dramatic stones, too.

The first shade in the palette is a pale pink-lilac with a soft, frosted finish that is just slightly sheer. theBalm Curtain Call is purpler. It’s actually very, very similar to MAC Seedy Pearl. Make Up For Ever #303 is pinker and frostier. Next to that is a softened orange–kind of like a peach shimmered pale orange with a frosted finish. Like the first shade, it’s a touch sheer. The hue is similar to theBalm Stubborn Eyeshadow.

On the bottom left, we have a frosted, cool-toned white. It’s just shy of being silver-tinted. The theme of the quad is definitely softer color, because this one was also a little sheer. theBalm Sassy is similar in color. MAC Forgery is also similar but has a chunkier texture. Inglot #453 is similar but more opaque and has a more metallic finish.  The last shade is medium-dark red-tinted brown with a champagne sheen. This was the most pigmented shade of the four. Bare Escentuals Vow is similar in color but has a satin finish, so it doesn’t look quite the same.

From Dolce & Gabbana’s press release on this collection, this quad is supposed to be a contrast between highlighting and shading, though I’m not sure where they’re getting “light jet” or “dark topaz.” I’m going to assume “light jet” is somehow the white shade. At some point in the press release, they describe the eyeshadow colors of the collection as “soft pearl hues to vibrant jewel shades.” Nothing about the Jewels quad is at all vibrant. They’re all very soft and muted. If you want intense color, look elsewhere, but if you like your eyeshadow soft and more natural, this should be right up your alley.

The confusion as to the pigmentation level aside, the texture of these was a bit powdery, with the peach-orange shade being the least powdery . It’s a very soft formulation, but it’s too soft, because it creates a lot of excess product without enough binder. I find I have to pack and pack and pack on the color to get a noticeable, even layer of color. They don’t just blend but disappear. You have to use a heavy hand to get enough color to show on the lid, but then you have to use the lightest hand to blend away any edges.  It’s marginally better when they’re used wet, but not by much, because the color still fades–there’s just a little less fall out.

I always find Dolce & Gabbana eyeshadows require more work and patience than an eyeshadow ought to.  I think these can work for someone who only sweeps on a single color and loves the idea of variety in color but really loves the idea of barely-there color on the lid (I have a friend just like this!) and is happy to see a visual difference in the pan but doesn’t mind the actual results.  They just don’t cooperate well when they’re used together.

Dolce & Gabbana Jewels (142) Eyeshadow Quad

C+
7
Product
8
Pigmentation
8
Texture
8
Longevity
3.5
Application
77%
Total

John’s Journey to Fight Acne

By John, Skincare Contributor

John describes himself as eccentric–you might find him having a conversation with himself or making “A Beautiful Mind”-like movements while doing so. He’s a stickler for accuracy, so you might find him correcting one thing or another! His goal is to answer questions and provide unbiased, meaningful, and insightful information.

At 21, he is an aspiring dermatologist and will return to school next fall to get those plans moving. John enjoys singing, playing piano, hitting volleyballs, playing video games, and chatting with friends. Some day, he’d love to try more adventurous activities, like skydiving and mountain climbing! Check out his blog, The Triple Helix Liaison!


2007 & 2008

John’s Journey to Fight Acne

I began following a regular skin care regimen about a year ago. At the time, I was experiencing quite resonating ideological and emotional shifts regarding school, my personal life, and relationships. They somewhat darkened my perspective and drove me to behave irrationally and impulsively, which lead of course to grave consequences and regrets. On top of all that, I had to handle my profusion of non-inflammatory and cystic acne. Consequently, I thought quite basely of myself.

The first photo was taken around 2007, when my acne was less cystic but still severe. The second photo was me in 12th grade (around 2008), when I started getting cystic acne. See how the right cheek and side of the nose folded as I winked? That’s because the cysts were so distended that they forced my skin to overlap. The camera’s flash does wash me out, so my condition appears better than it actually was.  To make an extremely long story short, three magical ingredients helped to rid my skin of acne. In order of discovery, they include:

  • Salicylic Acid:  I first encountered salicylic acid (SA), a lipid-soluble aromatic compound, in the form of Step 2 of the Clinique 3-Step system (skin type 4). I began with the Clinique 3-step because it was cost-effective, reputable among friends, and Blair Fowler loved it. The system helped somewhat, but after a few months, my skin worsened. From what I now know, repeated exposure of the alcohol content present in Step 2 had irritated my acne so intensely that it overshadowed the alleged effects of SA.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide:  I turned to other products to use in concurrence with the Clinique 3-step. First, I tried treatments from Neutrogena and Clean & Clear containing 10% benzoyl peroxide (BP), an antimicrobial ROS-generating compound, which should have improved my condition drastically, but due to the high amount of irritation involved, only improved my condition slightly. Since some studies suggest that lower concentrations of BP work just as effectively as higher ones, without the additional irritation, I next tried the Acne.org 2.5% BP product. Unfortunately, the reduced concentration had no positive effect on my skin.
  • Glycolic Acid: By this time, I was already familiar with Paula Begoun’s review website Beautypedia. However, I had never seriously considered using her products because one, the gaping conflict of interests was too impossible to ignore, and two, I hated that her products always received the highest rating possible. However, I was desperate. I purchased the 2% SA liquid treatment, as well as the 8% and 10% glycolic acid (GA) products.  Within two months, my acne had been reduced by at least 75%.

My postulations as to why the introduction of glycolic acid, which is typically better for dry and mature skin, worked so well for my adolescent and oily skin include the following:

  1. Due to the long-term damages of having severe cystic acne, my skin’s natural ability to exfoliate had been damaged,and therefore, functioned erroneously. This is evidenced by the daily buildup of gunk or sebum that would come off in thick layers when I gently scratched my face in the shower. I’d include a picture, but that would probably be gross. Its consistency is best described as a hybrid cream-wax that was sometimes bluish and other times yellowish.
  2. Partly due to its low molecular weight and water-soluble nature, GA is quite adept at exfoliating the surface of the skin. For my skin, this meant thinning of the statum corneum (SC), which had that excess “gunk,” which in turn allowed for the SA to actually penetrate into the pores and induce desquamation at those sites.
  3. Furthermore, the new Paula’s Choice (PC) SA product is a better formulation than the Clinique product mentioned above because of the vehicle and penetration enhancers used. The PC product employed methylpropanediol and butylene glycol to enhance penetration. The Clinique product employed denatured alcohol and butylene glycol. Although denatured alcohol is quite effective at enhancing penetration, it is too volatile, meaning that it evaporates quickly. Once the vehicle becomes volatile, SA becomes significantly less effective. Not to mention that in high amounts, denatured alcohol is irritating.
  4.  The GA, which reduced the excess sebum on the skin, also allowed for the BP to penetrate more deeply. As you can see, GA was the critical component necessary for effective treatment.

*Please note that though changes in stress level, diet, and exercise probably played major roles in the improvement of my condition, they are not addressed because they cannot be easily quantified and therefore, elucidated.

After my skin was basically clear, I set out to repair some of the damage done by my decade of untreated severe acne and lack of daily sunscreen use. There are two ingredients that have largely retextured, rebuilt, and refined my skin. In order of discovery, they are L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and retinol (vitamin A). Vitamin C stimulates collagen production while retinol, upon conversion to tretinoin—the active metabolite that the skin utilized, inhibits the expression of enzymes that break down collagen. So the therapy is two-folded. While these two fantastic ingredients exhibit several other beneficial properties, that’s for another time!

Check out John’s current skin care routine! 

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Video Review: MAC for Gareth Pugh Collection First Impression & Swatches

Video Review: MAC for Gareth Pugh Collection First Impression & Swatches

Still waiting for those freakin’ eyeshadows! Last time I called my local store, they were speculating that customs was holding it up, but I have no idea what’s going on. Nonetheless, here are all the other products minus the beauty powder, which I’ll be reviewing soon!

Did you snag anything from this launch? I’d love to know!

Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

The Importance of Moisture for Hair

By Marla, Hair Care Contributor

Marla is based in Atlanta, Georiga. Having been on a healthy hair journey for the past few years, she has learned the ins and outs of hair care through research, product sampling, and trial and error. Marla is a recent graduate of Emory University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minor in English. Her interests include spending time with family and friends, reading, volunteering, the arts, and cooking and baking. Since her family is originally from Ghana, West Africa, she hopes to take a much needed vacation to visit for the first time soon. And while in the midst of applying to medical school and working as a freelance writer, she is a beauty and fashion lover – simple, feminine, and sophisticated aesthetics – who won’t leave home without a good lip balm and mascara. Marla is also a writer for the beauty and fashion forums on AskMissA.com, an online women’s magazine where “charity meets style.”


Photo by Dionysius Burton

The Importance of Moisture for Hair

The difference between healthy hair and not-so-healthy hair can be as simple as moisture retention. All hair types, especially curly/coily/kinky textures, thrive off moisture. Without it, hair won’t only experience dryness, brittleness, and dullness, it also becomes highly susceptible to one of the most dreaded hair-related problems of all: breakage. If retaining hair moisture has been difficult for you, there are a few things to look out for (and even more to stay far far away from).

The #1 hair care moisture product of all time is none other than water. Just like the rest of your body, hair constantly needs water as it helps to maintain its elasticity, softness, natural shine, and strength. So after shampooing, which can be drying, following up with a moisturizing conditioner and a leave-in can help your hair retain the water it needs. So how do you know what’s good? The ingredients list is a reliable source. Water-based products are the way to go. If water is listed as the first ingredient, that’s a good sign. Moisturizing extracts and humectants – aloe vera, glycerin, sorbitol and other sugars, and more – can act to attract moisture from the air, further helping to retain moisture.

As for the rest of the ingredients found in moisturizers, it’s much easier to note what you don’t want to find on the list: petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and lanolin. Petrolatum- or mineral oil-based products are not your friends when it comes to moisture retention. While they do seal moisture in after the initial wash, they also prevent any more moisture from entering by coating the hair shaft. Lanolin, aka wool wax, has similar effects. Some more no-nos are silicones, sulfates, and certain alcohols. Silicones can coat hair which leads to build up, which leads to dullness, which leads to using harsh shampoos to remove it, which leads to a never-ending hair horror cycle. You get my point. And the last thing you want to do is use a shampoo with harsh sulfates that can further strip the hair of what little moisture it may have. As for alcohols, some of them can be very drying as well.

I know. I’ve named just about every ingredient found in all hair care products and there’s nothing left to use. Not quite. I’m merely pointing out common ingredients that have been known to cause hair trouble. At the end of the day, what may work wonders on your hair may be the nemesis of another’s. The best thing to do is to “listen” to your hair. If it’s constantly screaming “I’m thirsty!” or it’s breaking off at the ends as fast as (or even faster than) it’s growing at the roots, it could be time to go product hunting. Take a look at your current hair care products; see where on the list the not-so-great ingredients show up (if at all). If any are listed first or second, and dryness has been a problem, that product probably isn’t a keeper.

A promising “cheap” conditioner line for everyday use or conditioner washes (co-washes) is Suave Naturals ($3.49). Not only is water listed as its first ingredient, it’s pH balanced – less frizzies and more shine! Also pH balanced, Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating-Calming Conditioner ($7.99) works to replenish moisture in dry to normal hair.

As for leave-in conditioners, I’ve been as faithful to Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Leave-In Split End Protector ($3.99) as it’s been to me. Perfect product line name. On top of moisturizing hair, it leaves great slip for easy combing on wet hair. For curly heads, Kinky Curly Knot Today ($12.00) is a natural leave-in detangler. As a girl with every kind of curly in her head, I know the value of a good detangler.

Tips on Avoiding Dryness

  1. Wash your hair with cold water. It closes the cuticle allowing water to stay in and dirt to stay out. Closed cuticles leave hair shinier, too.
  2. Like water-based products, pH optimized products (pH of 3.5-6) add elasticity and shine. They also help in detangling and maintaining moisture/protein balance.
  3. Always follow a shampoo with a conditioner. Shampoos (especially those with sulfates) can be very drying, but conditioners help to add moisture back. If dryness continues to be an issue, consider washing with shampoo less often or doing co-washes (just washing with conditioner) more often.
  4. Spritzing daily with rose water or water mixed with aloe vera juice (for optimal pH) and then sealing with a little hair oil (no mineral oil!) can add much needed moisture to dry hair.
  5. No heat (or at least minimize your usage).

How do your current conditioners) and leave-ins fair–any no-no ingredients? What moisturizing products are working for you?

On Instagram